PDEA-7 tries to cut off another way for drug peddlers to deliver illegal goods
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas or PDEA-7 is trying to cut off another avenue of drug syndicates to move illegal drugs with the absence of human contact in the region, especially in Cebu Island — the delivery service platforms.
This after PDEA-7 caught several transport and food delivery service drivers delivering illegal drugs — some unwittingly while others knew what they were delivering.
Leia Albiar, PDEA-7 spokesperson, said that in Cebu City last August 2020, at the height of the pandemic here, they arrested a food delivery driver, who was caught in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Sambag 1 with a kilo of suspected shabu.
“Last year, August 14, 2020, if I am not mistaken, naa tay nadakpan usa ka food delivery driver, mga 1 kilo man gali to of ‘shabu’,” Albiar said.
(Last year, August 14, 2020, if I am not mistaken, we arrested a food delivery driver with around one kilo of ‘shabu’.)
“Gani, at the height of pandemic, strikto man gyud ang checkpoint, iyang gi take advantage nga connected siya sa usa ka food delivery service. Gigamit niya iyahang motor ug iyang uniform para makalusot lusot siya sa checkpoint pero diay to, shabu ang iyang bitbit,” she said.
(At the height of the pandemic, police were strict in all checkpoint areas, and he took advantage of his being connected with a food delivery service. He used his motorcycle and his uniform to go through the checkpoint areas but instead of food he was bringing and delivering ‘shabu’.)
Albiar said that since 2020, they had recorded 94 apprehensions in Central Visayas where food delivery drivers were used as a way for drug peddlers to deliver illegal drugs to their clients.
PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva cited the creative ways that drug syndicates were moving their illegal products and that the agency was closely monitoring these methods.
“The safest way to move illegal drugs is the absence of human contact. They (drug syndicates) resort to delivery service platforms to make the delivery of illicit goods close to undetectable,” Villanueva said.
PDEA-7 taps delivery services firms
To stop drug syndicates or drug peddlers from using transport and delivery platforms in their illegal trade, PDEA-7 tapped four transport and delivery services companies as their partners in stopping this trend.
Albiar said that they had partnered with Lalamove; Wallstreet Courier Services Incorporated, or popularly known as Ninja Van; Grab Philippines; and J&T.
Albiar said that partnering with these companies would empower them to make sure that their personnel would be free from affiliations with drug syndicates or illegal drug activities.
She said this would include encouraging delivery drivers of these four companies to double check the package that they would be delivering.
“I double check nila ba ang package nga ipadala sa ilahang mga client,” PDEA-7 spokesperson Albiar said.
(They should double-check their package that a client would want them to deliver.)
“Kato nuong sa Sambag 1, katong nadakpan nato, aminado gyud to siya nga nainvolve siya pero kaning drivers nga inosente, ilang buhaton, mangutana sila sa kung unsay ipadala sa mu book nila. I check ang package para ma ensure nila nga di sila magamit sa illegal nga transaction,” she said.
(However, the one we caught at Sambag 1 admitted that he was involved in illegal drugs but for those unwitting drivers, they should ask those who book for delivery what they (the drivers) were delivering. They should check the package to ensure that they (the drivers) would not be used for the illegal transaction of these illegal drug peddlers.)
Although, lately the PDEA-7 had not caught any delivery driver delivering illegal drugs in the region, Albiar said that they were certain that illegal drug peddlers would use this delivery platform for their illegal drug trade.
She said that this was the reason that the agency had partnered with these transport and delivery services companies to prevent this from happening.
With this partnership, Albiar said PDEA-7 agents could now easily inspect the warehouses of these companies and coordinate with their management in intercepting packages containing illegal drugs to prevent these from being delivered.
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